Lent Challenge - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Dear Friends,

What does it mean to live as the People of Christ in the Church? I suspect that if I ask this question in any church, as I have done in the past, there would be as many different answers as there are people present.

In its work on Justice, Dignity and Solidarity, the Methodist Church has said, "The Methodist Church believes that being Christian means:

  • Celebrating God who made each person in God’s own image
  • Being disciples of Jesus who treated each person with dignity
  • Rejoicing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to all people”

"This means becoming a church which:

  • Is free of all forms of discrimination
  • Celebrates the rich diversity of humanity
  • Recognises that all people are made in the image of God
  • Has structures and processes which allow everyone to participate fully
  • Has a leadership which reflects the diversity of our membership
  • Offers safe spaces for the general public and for members, to meet with a diversity of people, while still being honestly themselves
  • Ensures that its leaders are trained to understand issues of diversity and exclusion
  • Listens to, takes seriously, and acts upon any reports of discrimination or prejudice.”

We all carry with us biases, prejudices and preconceived ideas. At recent online worship with people from a different denomination one of the lay people present was complaining that the clergy always got to read the readings and the lay people were left leading the prayers. I was struck by how my prejudice had led me to see things differently (I had been thinking how wonderful it was that the lay people were leading the prayers rather than the clergy). My experience had stopped me from being able to see things from her point of view. It’s a small example and one that was quickly remedied by me commenting on my different experience and a discussion of our viewpoints. Not all our prejudices are so easily identified or remedied. Some are far more deeply seated and harder for us to identify. However, our biases have a tendency to stop us seeing and treating ourselves and others as God does.

This Lent as a circuit we are challenging ourselves to take the Methodist Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training. After Lent there will be opportunities to reflect together on what we have learned and to work out the implications for our life as a circuit as we live together as the People of God.

To introduce the training, click on this link for the ‘User Guide to the Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity and Click here for the training module.

As we travel through Lent and beyond I am excited by this and wonder how God will use this opportunity to transform us, enliven us and make us aware in fresh ways of the immensity and richness of God’s love.

May God continue to bless you,


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